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Chuck Hagel 31, Hagel 26, Iraq 15, John Mccain 13, Mccain 10, Afghanistan 9, Syria 8, Us 5, Lyrica 5, Israel 4, Dykes 4, Pentagon 3, United States 3, Iran 3, America 3, Washington 3, Msnbc 3, Bob Kerrey 3, Brendan 3, Leon Panetta 3,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    January 31, 2013
    8:00 - 9:00am PST  

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[ both ] 2% back on groceries. [ all ] 3% on gas. no hoops to jump through. i earn more cash back on the things i buy the most. [ woman ] it's as easy as... one! -two. -[ all ] three! [ male announcer ] the bankamericard cash rewards credit card. apply online or at a bank of america near you. as you all know i'm on the record -- i'm on the record on many issues but no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me. >> there we have it. former senator chuck hagel in the hot seat facing off against his former colleagues. good morning, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. topping our agenda today, being grilled by members of the senate committee as he seeks to become the next secretary of defense. >> i believe, and i always have believed, that america must
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engage in the world, not retreat from the world but engage from the world. my record is consistent on 0 these points. >> even after meetings with dozens of senators over the last few weeks, hagel still fielded a volley of questions from members of the senate armed services committee. >> my time will expire, others are going to ask as to why you did this. i was asking for the accuracy. if you don't want to answer that, that's fine. >> i just said i did vote against it and i was going to explain why i voted against it. >> and they'll be asking you for your explanation. i want to get to three other 0 things and that's why it's critical we keeping moving along here. >> today's hearing comes after a neocon campaign on the airwaves against hagel's nomination and after a vigorous defense of the president's cabinet choices from vice president joe biden. >> to suggest that two war heroes, a bronze star, a purple heart, silver star, taking over
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both the state department and defense is -- whatever the phrase was -- is ridiculous. >> joining me now from washington is nbc news capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell. kelly, as we look at this, this has been a big morning. everybody has been waiting for this. "the washington post" out with the headline, hagel has waged a charm offensive. he's been in meetings with senators for weeks now. was there a sense of anticipation this morning because hagel is now on record defending himself publicly for the first time. >> reporter: these hearings really do play a very important part in the process, thomas, because while they have had meetings, and you'll find that other cabinet nominees are doing the same thing, we don't talk about it a whole lot, they go around and have private conversations with senators because senators ultimately cast the vote on whether they get those cabinet positions but a hearing like this is important because it does put the nominee on the hot seat. it does give the committee an opportunity to challenge any
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nominee. what's interesting today is that chuck hagel was one of them. he served two terms for nebraska as a republican and, so far, what we've seen that earlier clip as jim inhofe of oklahoma is coming out against the hagel nomination and a lot of the k t criticism from republicans has been focused on some past positions that hagel has had, that they believe were not strong enough in support of israel and, in their view, too soft on iran. so they are challenging him on votes and that's part of what happens. if you have a record in public life, that's what people will scrutinize in part to try to get a sense who would you be in this new job in public life? it is an important part of the process. we expect there will be back and forth, some tension. because they put a clock on it and limit the amount of time that senators can question, you get some of that tension about h hurry up, we need to move on, that can look abrupt and rough. not always intended to be that way. but it's a big day for hagel who is trying to convince some of
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his fellow republicans he deserves the job. right now there are several who are publicly on the record saying that they are not in support of hagel and about hatch of those are on this committee. very critical for hagel to perform well today and to convince senators that he will represent the president's point of view and that they could be comfortable with him leading the pentagon. thomas? >> kelly o'donnell reporting for us from d.c. joining us here in studio ed schultz, host of "the ed show." good to have you here. >> good to be here. >> let's take a listen. john mccain is just now questioning, so let's listen in. >> sure. >> great members of this committee who have contributed so much to our nation's defense. senator hagel, members of this committee will raise questions reflecting concerns with your policy positions. they're not reasonable people disagreeing, they're fundamental disagreements. our concerns pertain to the
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quality of your professional judgment and your world view on critical areas of national security including security in the middle east. with that in mind, let me begin with your opposition to the surge in iraq. 2006 we lost -- republicans lost the election and we began the surge, and you wrote a piece in "the washington post," quote, leaving iraq honorably. 2007 you committed -- you said it's not in the national interest to deepen its military involvement. in january of 2007 in a rather bizarre exchange with secretary rice in the foreign relations committee after some nonsense about syria and crossing the border into iran and syria because of the surge, then a reference to cambodia in 1970, you said, quote, when you set in motion the kind of policy the
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president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous. quote, as a matter of fact, i have to say, madam secretary, i think the speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam it's carried out, i will resist it. and then, of course, you continued on and on for months afterwards talking about what a disaster the surge would be, even to the point where it was clear the surge was succeeding. in march 2008, you said, quote, here the term quagmire could apply. if that's not a quagmire, then what is? even as late as august 29, 2011, in an interview, 2011, in an interview with the financial times, you said i disagreed with president obama, his decision to surge in iraq as i did with
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president bush on the surge in iraq. do you stand by that -- those comments, senator hagel? >> well, senator, i stand by them because i made them. >> were you right? were you correct in your assessment? >> well, i would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out -- >> the committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge? >> i'll explain why i made those comments. >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question, i expect a direct answer. >> the surge assisted in the objective but if we review the record a little bit -- >> will you please answer the question, were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? were you correct or incorrect? yes or no? >> my reference to -- >> are you going to answer the question, senator hagel? the question is, were you right or wrong? that's a pretty straightforward
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question. i would like an answer right or wrong and then you are free to elaborate. >> well, i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer. >> show that you refuse to answer the question now please go ahead. >> well, if you would like me to explain why -- >> i actually would like an answer, yes or no. >> well, i'm not going to given you a yes or no, i think it's far more complicated than that as i've already said. i'll defer that judgment to history. as to the comment i made about the most dangerous foreign policy decision since vietnam was about not just the surge but the overall war of choice going into iraq. that particular decision that was made on the surge, but more to the point our war in iraq, i think was the most fundamentally
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bad, dangerous decision since vietnam. aside from the costs that o occurred in this country to blood and treasure, aside what that did to take our focus off of afghanistan, which, in fact, was the original and real focus of the national threat to this country, iraq was not, i always try to frame all the different issues before i made a decision on anything. now just as you said, senator, we can have differences of opinion, but that's essentially why i took the position i did. >> it's a fundamental difference of opinion, senator hagel, and senator graham and i and senator lieberman when there were 59 votes in the united states senate spent our time trying to prevent that 60th. thank god for senator lieberman. i think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir,
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and you're on the wrong side of it. and your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether or not to vote for your confirmation or not. i hope you will reconsider the fact you refused to answer a fundamental question about an issue that took the lives of thousands of young americans. >> senator, there was more to it than just flooding -- >> i'm asking about the surge, senator hagel. >> i know you are and i'm trying to explain my position. the beginning of the surge also factored into what general allen had put in place in anbar province, the sunni awaken iing. we put over, as you know, 100,000 -- >> i'm very aware of the history of the surge and the anbar awakening, and i also am aware any casual observer will know the surge was the fundamental factor led by two great leaders, general petraeus and --
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>> i don't know if that would have been required and cost us over 1,000 american lives and thousands of wounded -- >> you don't know if the surge would have been required. okay. senator hagel, let me go back to syria now. more than 60,000 people have been killed in syria. do you believe that we should be more engaged in syria? >> i know this administration is very engaged in working with its partners. >> so you don't think we should do more? >> well, when you say do more, do you mean -- >> do you think we should put -- make sure that the syrians get the weapons they need and perhaps establish a no-fly zone? do you think we do? >> i believe that part of our review is looking at those options. >> it's been 22 months, senator hagel. >> well, i wasn't there. i don't know the details. i'm not there now. >> i'm sure you've read in the newspapers 60,000 people have been killed and that it's in danger of spilling over into neighboring countries. my question, i guess, is how many more would have to die
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before you would support an arming the resistance and establishing a no-fly zone? >> well, i don't think anyone questions the terrible tragedy that is occurring there every day. it's a matter of how best do we work our way through this so that we can stop it to begin with. and then what comes next? >> do you disagree with president obama on his decision for the surge in afghanistan? >> i didn't think that we should get ourselves into -- first of all, i had no original position as far as no formal position, but i didn't think -- >> you were quoted in august of 2011 saying i disagreed with president obama on his decision to surge in afghanistan. >> that was my personal opinion, yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccain. senator nelson? >> confirmation hearings of
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senator chuck hagel right now being questioned by senator mccain, ed schultz here in studio with me. this is really fascinating to watch because it seems as if chuck hagel is still being crucified for republican on republican crime dating back to '07. >> well, this all goes into the big theme of international intervention. john mccain and lindsey graham believed united states should be involved anywhere in the world that serves our best interests whether it does the country we would be in or not. the yes or no answer that john mccain was seeking, that would be like we know that john mccain crashed a bun of planes when he was a pilot in the united states navy. is he a good pilot or bad pilot? yes or no. there could have been a malfunction in one of the aircraft. they are trying to pigeonhole chuck hagel as a dove, someone who is not going to seek the strong interests of the united states, and isn't schooled up on policy. i remember that surge in iraq.
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there was a raging debate in this country as to how involved we would have to get to finish off what we started in iraq and senator hagel was against it at the time because he was thinking about the amount of resources and money we were going to spend that wasn't being accounted for. and so it's a complex answer. it's not a yes or no answer which, of course, mccain likes to put into a box. the other thing about syria, where is the march? where is the cry from the american peel right now to go get involved in somebody else's war? we don't have the resources right now. you can't put a number on death before we do get involved in something like this. and the american people aren't yearning to get into another conflict in syria. it's not our fight right now. and so i think hagel is taking a very pragmatic approach about that, but when you look at the history of john mccain, you look at the history of senator graham from south carolina, they're hawks. they can't get enough of confrontation, international intervention and that's what this is about. i think, thomas, there's another
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underlying issue here. chuck hagel far surpasses anybody in the united states senate when it comes to being able to run a business. he ran vanguard. he was also the head of an investment banking firm. this man is an astute businessman. he knows how to run budgets. and the pentagon is going to be facing some very serious issues when it comes to with where do we cut? hagel will be able to go in there from the foot soldier's perspective from a legislator's perspective and a business perspective to be able to advise the president this is where we can pear back the billions of dollars that have to be cut and i think that's what john mccain is concerned about. >> isn't it odd here we are 13 years later he was the national co-chair for the 2000 campaign of john mccain? just a week ago we see john mccain basically carrying in the democrat, john kerry, to give the introduction for him to become secretary of state and, again, they all are brothers in
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arms of having served and being decorated war vets. it's interesting to see now when hagel comes in the first thing that comes up, the big sticking point, is the fact he did not stick with the ranks when it came to iraq in the surge. >> well, not only is it the international intervention issue that i was just talking about, but also the political issue. this would be probably the first republ republican outside of ray lahood who is now leaving the administration, that has really warmed up to the president. they've been obstructing everything the president has wanted to do. he got a couple of votes from republicans and arlen specter who turned democrat later on on the stimulus package. no help on health care. and here is chuck hague who will is a decorated combat veteran, a successful businessman, who has spent time in the senate on two terms, who is well rounded, well experienced, and he's willing to go to work for president of the united states. that's almost herecy if you're a republican. >> one thing -- let's go back. they're talking about the surge right now. let's listen in.
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>> i asked myself every vote i took, every decision i made, was the policy worthy of the men and women that we were sending into battle and surely to their deat deaths, and, in many cases, unfortunately, tens of thousands of cases that we're living with these poor families are living with, wounded the results, the consequences. i know it's easy, it is anywhere, if you don't have a connection to some of this. to see these things a little differently. it doesn't mean i'm any better, senator. it doesn't mean i'm any smarter. it doesn't mean i'm any more apprecia appreciative of the service to our country. that's not it. i saw it from the bottom. i saw what happens. i saw the consequences and the suffering and the horror of war. so i did question a surge.
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it wasn't an beaberration to me ever. i always asked the question, is this going to be worth the sacrifice because there will be sacrifice in the surge case in iraq we lost almost 1,200 dead americans during that surge and thousands of wounded. now was it required? was it necessary? senator mccain has his own opinion on that. shared by others. i'm not sure. i'm not that certain that it was required. now it doesn't mean i'm right. it doesn't mean i didn't make wrong votes. but that's what guides me, when you ask me the question about my time in vietnam and was i wounded, well, i was a very insignificant part of this. we were just doing our job, senator, as every military person knows that. some of this committee has
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rather distinguished members who served starting with senator mccain and the sacrifices he's made to this country. but it does condition you. i'm not shaped, framed, molded, consumed by that experience. of course not. but it's part of me. i tried 0 to explain that in my opening statement. we're all shaped by those experiences. i hope that experience that i've had is for the better. i hope if i had the privilege of serving as secretary of defense it will put someone in charge of the pentagon not questioning past secretaries of defense. i can only speak for myself. who understands the realities of consequences of war. it doesn't mean i'm better. but that is who i am. i don't walk away from that. i acknowledge that. i don't see the lens of every world event and whether we
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should use american power through the lens of vietnam but it is part of me. it is part of that lens. i think that's for the better. i think we need to be cautious with our power. i think we need to be wise with our power. we have great power. we have awesome power. no nation in the world is even in our league. we have done so much good with that power. i don't think there's a nation in the history of man who has ever been as judicious and careful with his power as we have. i want to continue to do that as you all do. we'll have differences, senator, on policies. but all i can do is my best based on my own experiences and, as i also said in my statement reaching out, listening, learning, never knowing enough, understand circumstances change. >> senator nelson pressing chuck hagel there on his iraq vote against the surge. reminding everybody about the fact that he does see things
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through the vietnam lens, having been a war vet. but the reason why we went to iraq was based on 0 faulty assumptions that they had weapons of mass destruction and they didn't? >> have a hard time admitting that. it's the chicken and egg issue. look, i thought what you just saw, that's the chuck hagel that this country knows. this is a man who has taken with him for years the experiences that he had in vietnam and some of the fiercest fighting in that, and it was just his job. he did what he was told to do. and he came away with a couple of purple hearts. i came away with the vietnamese cross of gallantry. it doesn't get any higher than that. he served with his brother. he has combat experience. when he thinks about a surge, he's calculating, okay, do we actually have to do this is this he was not so much a dissenting voice as he was a voice of reason, experience, been there, done that.
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is there a different way to do this? and i specifically remember one of the hearings he had, you know, if you're going to put those boys back in that meat grinder, you'd better be damn sure you know what you're doing because we're going to lose a lot of lives and, you know what? we lost a lot of lives in that surge. and arguably to this day we really don't know if it was the right thing to do. but then again, it's coming from the republicans who can't get enough of international intervention, who want to make sure the united states swings a big stick wherever they go. if you'd have had it lindsey graham's way or john mccain's way we would have had troops in egypt, in libya, troops right now in syria. i don't think the american people have an appetite for that right now, nor do we have the resource to do that right now. it's in many respect not our fight. it's our diplomatic mission but it's not completely our fight. and the way of the obama administration has been to do things collectively. don't go it alone.
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and i think that chuck hagel fits very well in the obama administration for the pentagon. >> it seems like hagel is worthy of our blood and treasure. we'll continue to watch this. it's just as intense as it was anticipated to be. we'll see you at 8:00 p.m. here on msnbc. ed, thanks again. the power panel up next to weigh in on the hagel confirmation. you are watching our special coverage right here. final for your entrepreneur of the week. the owner of aquariums in new york. the special attention have gained him a celebrity clientele. a customer base that he says can call his company anytime day or night if they need help. i'm only in my 60's... i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out
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so i can get three times the coverage. [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox. with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done" with access to the fastest push-to-talk and three times the coverage. now when you buy one kyocera duraxt rugged phone for $69.99, you'll get four free. other offers available. visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. stand by me as i made them and -- >> were you right? were you correct in your assessment? >> well, i would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out. >> the committee deserves your judgment as to whether you were right or wrong about the surge? >> i'll explain why i made those comments. >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question, i expect a direct answer. >> the surge assisted in the objective but if we review the record a little bit --
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>> will you please answer the question? were you correct are or incorrect? >> senator mccain pressing chuck hagel on his resistance against the iraq surge of '07. we continue to follow today's big story and capitol hill. former senator chuck hagel facing his former colleagues and they will decide whether he becomes the next secretary of defense. in advance of today's hearings, our hearing that is, members of the senate armed services committee sent a 112-page questionnaire with topics ranging from iraq and all the way to the lgbt community. we want to bring in our political power panel, military analyst and medal of honor recipient jack jacobs, we have joining msnbc contributor joanne reid, who happens to be the managing editor, and it's good to have you all here. a lot to talk about as we've been watching this this morning. patrick, i want to start with you. senator mccain is definitely pressing very hard about chuck hagel's resistance to vote about
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the iraq surge of '07 saying he looked at it through the leps was this policy the best policy to make, the cost of blood and treasure that would be needed. what's your reaction seeing mccain press so hard and as i call it this republican on republican crime? >> listen, i think history will show chuck hagel was right, our focus should have been on afghanistan where bin laden was, the with one who killed thousands of innocent americans, not iraq. the fact to this, we had five times the amount of troops at that time in iraq than we did in afghanistan. it wasn't until we brought troops home, we tripled in afghanistan to smoke him out and finally bring him, bin laden, to justice. so could have used better words in his op-ed, chuck hagel? absolutely. he was right and history will judge that. it was strategically the wrong are war. we lost thousands of men and women in that war. i lost 19 men in my unit, that weighs on my heart every day. but the fact is this, we need people like chuck hagel who have bled for our country, the first enlisted man ever to serve as
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secretary of defense. the first vietnam veteran to serve as secretary of defense. i want someone who knows what words like before we send our young men and women back into harm's way who has been there and gets it and isn't going to be kowtowed by the neocon. >> he didn't ask whether or not it was a good idea to go into iraq and abandon afghanistan for seven years and try to go back seven years later and pick up the pieces when it was too late to do so. and i don't think you'll get anybody -- they have you team will agree that was a great idea particularly in retrospect to go to iraq. the question that mccain asked was whether or not the hyperbole that hagel had calling the surge the worst -- the biggest mistake in american military history since vietnam -- >> the biggest blunder since vietnam -- >> that was the question and
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hagel -- you can argue whether or not it was a good question to ask, whether or not mccain was trying to bully him, which he w was. you have to take issue with the fact that tag l did not answer that sharp grounder to him. he handled it poorly and gave himself an opportunity to have some people vote against him who may not otherwise have done so. >> colonel, when you look, listen, he's there on the full stage in front of his former colleagues with the cameras showing. strategically it was a mistake but the question was, he maybe didn't catch the exact question and the nuance of it, but let's be clear, it was a strategic mistake when we should have been focused on bin laden in afghanistan. i would also say that chuck hagel always has put his country first. he broke with the republican party in 1999 when he was only one of two republicans to follow president clinton's lead and say let's go into kosovo to stop the worst ethnic cleansing in european history in world war ii. let's send enough troops in
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there so they're not short-handed and we didn't lose one troop to combat fatality. and we stopped that ethnic cleansing in kosovo. and i think we have to give him credit for that. >> one thing the anticipation is living up to the hype. this is very heated so far, at least the questions that are coming for him, joanne, right now not only about foreign policy and where we go moving forward as a country, past senate votes, but whether or not he will pick up the mantle of the president's orders and what leon panetta has put in place. when we talk about the full repeal of don't ask/don't tell and about leon panetta saying women can serve in combat and also the issue of sexual assaults going on in the military right now which is front and center with that na documentary the invisible war. he seems up to the task or at least in this testimony to take on the mantle fully. >> and what's interesting i think that is the stuff that's more jermaigermane to the job hd
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be doing. would he be able to fully work out women in combat and obviously the stresses in dealing with sexual assaults. but what we're seeing on the stage today and the little bite that's going to go out all over youtube you is going back to the stress of the break between the neoconservative republicans and the paleo conservative republicans like chuck hagel. john mccain personalizes each of these nominations. it's really about him. the surge was something he pushed and he really still needs to work out his personal peek at chuck hagel for walking away from the republican position on iraq. i think he's dragging us back to a point not relevant to what chuck hagel would have to do but that is, once again, all about john mccain. >> as i pointed out with ed, we're seeing a different john mccain than we saw with senator kerry. he basically escorted him in and hand held him. >> he got what he wanted. he didn't want susan rice. he wanted it to be john kerry.
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so it's easy sailing. but when john mccain is in any way challenged on something he personally believed in like the surge, he goes after the guy. look, i would like to see john mccain ask chuck hagel about things that are relevant to what chuck hagel would have to do. it is a fait accompli. we all agree it was a bad idea. would chuck hagel be able to implement obabarack obama's policies properly? that's what's relevant. >> michelle, i ask want to ask you about the neocon concerns about the defense department budget and the reason barack obama picked a republican is to give cover to the democratic white house about the drastic cuts that are needed in the future. >> it'll be very interesting to see what happens with the questioning on this and, again, i expect more very, very rabid, if you would say, questioning of chuck hagel on this question by senator mccain and by others. if you take a look at it, for example, leon panetta has been quoted as saying that the budget cuts that would have happened to
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the department of defense under the sequestration would be devastating for the department of defense. chuck hagel on the other hand believes and has been quoted as saying in the press that the defense department's budget is bloated. i think one of the things the american public will be looking at as senators like mccain continue what i would describe as a very fierce cross-examination of chuck hagel is the fact that he is measured. his temperament is very measured. he is fiercely independent. we are living in a country that is not only war weary but weary of the nation's debt and if you look at the tone and tenor of a chuck hagel, he gives -- exudes this feeling of safety and being very, very intelligent in carrying out not only what the president wants but what is in the best interests of the country. >> he certainly earned his stripes and we can ait test to the fact he has sharp elbows. i want to thank the power panel today. sorry for our abbreviated time together, gang.
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then we have coming up defending a friend, chuck hagel crossed party lines to endorse bob kerrey in his most recent senate bid and bob can kerry now repaying that favor. a dangerous situation after this downpour of rain flooded roads equaling stranded motorists and a bunch of different rescue calls. we'll tell you where. [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ the all-new cadillac ats -- 2013 north american car of the year. ♪ for a limited time, take advantage of this exceptional offer on the all-new cadillac ats.
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campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. we are following an intense hostage situation in alabama now in its second day. police have confirmed that 65-year-old jimmy lee dykes is responsible for starting a hostage standoff after he shot and killed a 66-year-old bus driver and then kidnapped a 5-year-old boy on tuesday. this is a picture where police say dykes is holed up with the 5-year-old boy. to gabe gutierrez in midland city, alabama. fill us in on the most up-to-date information there. >> reporter: thomas, the standoff has been bizarre from the beginning and is dragging past 40 hours. this morning hostage negotiators have been talking with the
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suspect thank you a pvc pipe attached to an underground tornado bunker. officials say so far the 5-year-old hostage is unharmed. they're identifying him simply by his first name, ethan. he'll turn 6 in a few weeks. they have been able to bring ethan medicine for an unspecified medical condition and a coloring book to occupy his time. this standoff began tuesday afternoon. a police source close to the investigation says 65-year-old jimmy lee dykes boarded a stopped school bus and demanded several children come along with him. when the school bus driver refused, police say, dykes opened fire, shooting the bus driver multiple times and killing him. and the police source says dykes then took that child to the underground bunker where they've been holed up for more than 40 hours. now there's no telling how long this standoff could last. a police source says that dykes is a survivalist and they have
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stocked away rations. this really could last for quite a while. right now schools in the area are closed and people here are praying for a peaceful resolution. thomas? >> nbc's gabe gutierrez, thanks so much. we'll continue to follow that story and bring you more details as it unfolds. an incredible picture for you when a motorist and a passenger in maryland have had to be rescued after being trapped in their car due to heavy rains. it's all part of a severe storm system which made landfall in the east coast early this morning. in southeast, at least two people are dead after high winds and a tornado ripped through parts of georgia and tennessee yesterday. the severe storm system is responsible for more than 400,000 power outages in the northeast after these heavy rains and the high winds that they experienced last night. we go back to our special coverage of the chuck hagel confirmation. that hearing continuing as we speak. we take you back now, a live look on capitol hill where the former senator is answering questions from senator claire mccaskill right now. it's going into its second hour. joining me by phone is bob
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kerrey of nebraska, a hagel supporter. sir, it's good to have you here. you are a democrat. hagel is a republican. let's remind everybody hagel did endorse you in your election effort last year and that angered a lot of people on the right. is that why you are coming can out to show your support for him, the fact that you can cross party lines as he was able to cross party lines for you? >> no. if chuck endorsed my opponent, i would still be supporting him for secretary of defense. these are not positions where you can make an endorsement based upon these kinds of political considerations. he's imminently qualified, deeply experienced both in national intelligence issues having been on that committee but he's been on the defense policy board as well. he's chaired the atlantic counc council. he has deep experience with war and peace issues having served during the vietnam war. he's imminently qualified to be secretary of defense.
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and i was very surprised that he's willing to take the job and watching the hearing he probably somewhere in his brain is wondering whether or not he did the right thing saying yes. i expect him to be confirmed. and i expect that once he's confirmed the american people will say that was one of the best appointments president obama has made. >> certainly there have been concerns from the left. it seems like the bigger concern, sir, has been from the right, within his own party. now you have said in an interview anyone who votes no on hagel's nomination is going to rue the day they did. are you not worried about his position or has he collar fid his position enough on iran and israel for you? do you understand why there might have been some concerns about what his modern day positions are? >> of course. and those positions ought to be debated. but chuck's record, when i say rue the day, it's an embarrassment. i think his performance -- i don't mean pay a terrible price for it but what's going to
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happen he's going to get confirmed, he's going to do a great job and, you know, for the rest of your life you'll have to explain why you voted no. i just think he's -- i understand why people are concerned about his policies and his positions on various issues, but i know him to be a strong supporter of israel, of keeping our military strong, and i know him to be, i would say, a cautious user of military force because he fought in a war that was popular in the beginning and unpopular in the end. 75% of the american people want to get out of afghanistan as quickly as possible and a relatively small fraction of american people even know that they're there. so we have to be -- we need a secretary of defense who wants to keep our military strong, who understands the need to use force in order to preserve peace but you ought to use it cautiously. and i think he's the perfect person to manage the transition from one kind of a defense structure to a new one because the nature of our threat, the
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nature of the enemy has changed not to mention the budget problems that the next secretary of defense will face as well. he's going to have the confidence of the military leadership all the way down to the pfc out there in the field, exactly what the department of defense needs and i think he'll make an exceptional secretary of defense. >> former senator of nebraska, bob kerrey. thanks for your time. i appreciate it. i'd like to bring in a our conversation one of the co-hosts of msnbc's "the cycle." it's good to have you. we've been watching the hard questioning chuck hagel has been getting about his positions modern day around the world. i want to play what he had to say regarding iran. take a listen. >> i am fully committed to the president's goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and as i have been on record on that issue, as i've said in the past, many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal.
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my policy has always been the same as the president's. one of prevention, not of containment. >> so now he goes on in some of the 112-page questionnaire that he filled out talking about iran, saying i will focus intently on ensuring the u.s. military is, in fact, prepared for any contingency. a lot of people worried about preparedness issues from a chuck hagel perspective. do you think he's answering questions well enough to 0 break through with the concerns on the right? >> he's saying the right things now but it's after years of saying the opposite and to say that he's currently with the president on the issue of iran just isn't factual. it isn't accurate. he is far to the left of president obama and obama's policies on iran and has been for some time whether it's opposing sanctions. that is something we are currently engaged in, whether it's wanting iranian membership in the world trade organization. it's refusing to designate hezbollah and other iranian groups as terrorist organizations. these are all things that put
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him in contrast with the current administration's policies. so i think the line of questions on iran from the left and the right are warranted. >> he said in that 112-page questionnaire, and i quote, smart,s unprecedented, and effective sanctions against the iranian regime. he would continue to implement and he supports what congress and the obama administration have adopted in recent years. >> that is a new position and that's the right position to take. but it flies in the face of a number of votes. it was really rich to suggest all of this time we've been taking him out of context and using one vote or one quote when it's been a record and pattern of votes and quotes that lead people to believe this. there's no reason for republicans to want to read this into chuck hagel. they're reading it in because it exists. >> you said yesterday you weren't concerned about his positions on israel so much or his positions on lgbt -- >> no, his positions i am. his personality traits, his prejudices, i don't need to read psychology into chuck hagel and
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put him on the couch if he's an anti-semite, a homophobe, those are vile character traits about but have nothing to do with policies. i want to know what his policies are. >> we'll see you today at 3:00 on "the cycle." taking it to town every day. >> trying. >> i appreciate it. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do.
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tul ver is on an apology tour. in response to a shock jock, he said, no, we don't need gay people on the team. they to get up out of here. can't welcome back that sweet stuff. now, the coach for the 49ers, jim harbough, said there's no malice in his heart and that he is not an ugly person, in referring to culliver.
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huds hudson, i want to get your reaction because you have had such a great mission trying to break through homophobic stances in pro sports and college sports. what's your reaction to hearing what he had to say and he has since apologized, but it really shows his place in thinking. >> yeah. i mean, athletes are role models. to millions of kids in this country who happen to be both gay and straight. fortunately for every athlete ally that speaks out, another person can feel comfortable and confident coming out. that's why we're working with athletes like chris -- scott fugita and connor barwin of the texans to make sport safe for everybody and really reiterate the point that discrimination has no place in sports. snoo here's the great thing. athlete ally exists because crap like that exists and people say ugly things like that, but the good news is, as you said,
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brendan is part of your ambassadors, your team of athlete allies. now we've got brendan and culliver facing off, hero against villain basically, in the super bowl. >> i should say, you know, brendan's main objective here is to win a super bowl, and that's why athlete ally and other members of the athletic community are making sure that people know it doesn't matter if you're young or old or tall or short or gay or straight. if you can run fast and throw far, you should be able to play regardless of your sexual orientation. >> this is about being the best athlete you can be, being respectful to everybody. check out athlete ally.com. people can take the pledge there. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> we asked our viewer, should 49ers player chris cullicor be side looerched from the super bowl for his anti-gay comments? here's how you responded. jason says he absolutely should. yes. his apology is the most obvious pr damage control i have seen. yes, he should be sidelined. if an african-american comment were made, that person would be called out on it. if an african-american comment
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were made that, person would be called out on it. it's really interesting if you just take out the word gay and put in latino or black or jewish, somebody would be a lot more in trouble for this. right back with more after this. stick around. how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. i'm maria, and i have diabetic nerve pain. i felt like my feet were going to sleep. it was like pins and needles sticking in your toes and in your feet. it progressed from there to burning like i was walking on hot coals. at that point, i knew i had to do something. when i went to see my doctor, she chose lyrica. once i started taking the lyrica, the pain started subsiding. [ female announcer ] it's known that diabetes damages nerves. lyrica is fda approved to treat diabetic nerve pain. lyrica is not for everyone. it may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions.
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all right. that's going to wrap things up for me. thanks for your time. see you back here tomorrow 11:00 a.m. eastern. joining me then joaquin castro, james hormel, the monday who was referred to as openly aggress he havely gay during his senate confirmation hearing, and on the monthly jobs numbers we'll have ron insana and jared bernstein joining us. now with alex wagner comes up next. supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement.
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